Sharjah-Dubai round trip ferry popular - GulfToday

Sharjah-Dubai round trip ferry popular

Sharjah-Dubai

RTA crew on the look out for the safety of passengers at the Sharjah Aquarium Marine Station on Thursday. Kamal Kassim, Gulf Today

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

The newest and novel Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) inter-emirate mass transportation to service thousands of commuters every day is convenient as it has become a “picnic ride.”

Sharjah resident Gamil Nejad said: “I drive my car when (I do field work). I rode on the first day last Saturday. It was like a picnic. I am riding again today because I only have to stay in my office in Deira. With my car and the traffic is tension. With this ride, no tension.”

The service is also meant to be remembered.

Take that from expatriate 21-year Sharjah resident Sabu.

Like Nejad, the Gulf Today met Sabu and his wife Sindhu while waiting for the 10:30 a.m. Sharjah-Dubai ferry ride at the Sharjah Aquarium Marine Station on Thursday.

The couple wanted to check how the service is in preparation for the planned “family-and-friends boat ride to Dubai” at 2 p.m. on Friday.

Half-way through the 35-minute journey and several minutes after the captain had announced that passengers were already allowed to go to the deck for the scenery, Sabu volunteered: “I and my wife will treasure this. We are going home for good (to India).”

Ferry No. 8, with a handful of passengers departed Sharjah a little over 10:30 a.m. on Thursday after the captain, the chief engineer and two sailors welcomed them on board.

While passengers have the option to either use their NoL cards which, according to RTA-Sharjah quality officer Samir Nureldan could be personally re-charged at the station, all passengers for that particular ride bought either the Dhs15.00 Silver ticket or Dhs25.00 Gold ticket which went through a detector. Early on, the ticket counter salesman alerted this reporter about the invalidity of the tickets if not used at the time of purchase.

Meanwhile, Nureldan told this reporter that as a yacht arrives at the station, an RTA bus from the Al Jubail station in Sharjah is also timed to arrive to deliver and wait for passengers.

The airconditioned fully enclosed yacht with glass window panels has a 98-sitting capacity: 84 at the Silver cabin and 14 at the Gold section.

Reports had indicated the yachts are safe in accordance to the highest standards on maritime vessels by the internationally-recognized Bureau of Veritas and the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea.

And why not?

Before the departure, on board passengers were oriented to the safety rules and regulations not only in English and Arabic but with the sign language as well, by way of six 32-inch wide screens installed in both cabins.

“Passenger Safety Information Card” complete with visuals is in each leather seat pocket.

Lifejackets for adults are stowed under each seat too. The crew let children don lifejackets especially when at the deck.  Literature on the duties and responsibilities particularly in time of emergencies of each crew are visible on the deck.

The notification “We must protect our environment and the sea. Please do not throw any kind of waste over side and place them in the bins provided on board” is also posted on the deck wall.

“The captain must not be disturbed,” one sailor replied upon the enquiry if passengers could see him at the wheelhouse.

Ferry riders are informed of the speed, distance covered, the remaining distance and remaining time to the destination by way of the 32-inch screens.

For instance, on the way back, at 11:48 a.m. as the captain was navigating towards the Al Mamzar/Al Khan area in Sharjah, the speed flashed on the screens was 14.04 knots, remaining distance at 1.42 nautical miles, and remaining time at six minutes and four seconds.

A little past 11:55 a.m., the captain announced the arrival disembarkation procedures at the Sharjah Aquarium Marine Station.

Like Kevin Jefrey and his four-year-old son Jake from Dubai, co-passengers at the 10:30 a.m. ride to the Al Ghubaiba Marine Station, on board the return trip to Sharjah were families for the round trip picnic ride and Sharjah Aquarium tour.

“We are here for the Sharjah Aquarium. We will have lunch here,” said one lady of a family of seven.